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  • Buy-to-Let

    How to create a S21 that takes Spencer v Taylor into account?

    The recent Spencer v Taylor case says that a s21(1)(b) notice can be served at any time provided that there has at some stage been a fixed term tenancy, hence the notice does not need to take into account the periods of the tenancy.

    The NLA S21 generator still creates a S21 that has a “saving provision” that talks about periods.

    What wording do I use on a S21 notice so that it take effect as quickly as possible, but still is valid?

    (I will serve at least 2 S21 notices one using the “new” wording and 1 using the NLA wording.)
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    Given that Spencer v Taylor is possibly going to the Supreme Court, I'd suggest being cautious for the time being.
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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Section 21- The Supreme Court speaks

    Legal insight|

    By David Smith of Anthony Gold

    The Supreme Court has today refused permission to appeal to the tenant in the case of Spencer v Taylor. David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors with James Browne of Lamb Chambers acted for the landlord in opposing the permission application.

    What does this mean?

    The refusal of permission means that the original decision of the Court of Appeal in this matter is now good law and can be taken as the accurate position on section 21 notices. We wrote about this here. However, in summary this means that if there has been a previous fixed term tenancy a s21(1)(b) notice which is the simpler form of notice and only requires 2 calendar months notice (ie. there is no need for the notice to expire at the end of a period) can be served both in the fixed term or any subsequent statutory periodic tenancy.

    Practical effects

    For much of the private rental sector this decision will mean that the s21(4)(a) notice is effectively dead and a lot of the cases that have caused landlords and agents concern over the years are now largely irrelevant. Even where an s21(4)(a) notice has been served the provisions of s21(1)(b) will have effect and so this will mean that an incorrect date will probably not be a problem provided that the tenant has at least had two calendar months notice.

    Our View

    David Smith said:

    "This decision is good news for landlords. The confusion caused by s21(4)(a) benefits nobody in the property sector other than lawyers. While some tenant organisations may feel that the longer periods offered by this notice was of value the time involved was often illusory and was very variable. The confusion caused by the use of saving provisions and the uncertainty over whether or not a valid notice had been served was, in reality, of minimal benefit to tenants and meant that they were also unsure if they really had to leave. The Court of Appeal decision meant that this confusion was significantly reduced. I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld that judgement."
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    Press release from Fergus Wilson:

    Amanda Willis of Manor House Drive, Ashford, finally lost here prolonged battle to retain the tenancy of her house one week after the Supreme Court ruled in the Landmark Case of Spencer v Taylor appealed from the Court of Appeal.

    Ms Willis was represented by Holden & Co of Ashford and argued that the Notice to Quit was incorrect but District Judge Nigel Jackson ruled against her and refused permission to Appeal.

    The Notice to Quit was issued on 11th July 2013. Possession was Ordered on 14th August 2014.

    Ms Willis, has four children, and told the Court she had done nothing wrong. She was not in Arrears with her rent and had never been. The Council had told her to go to a Solicitor. She said she had been looking for a house for over a year but no Agent would accept her with four children. She needed to live close to her children’s school.

    The Landlord was Judith Wilson represented by Andrew Wilson, a Direct Access Barrister, of 1 Essex Court, Temple who argued that Spencer v Taylor applied in what was the first case heard following the Supreme Court ruling.

    Fergus Wilson said afterwards that the Supreme Court ruling was a very important case for Landlords. It has taken over 13 months from start to finish on what is meant to be an accelerated procedure taking 14 days!

    It is the Local Council that has a duty of care to house these vulnerable people not the Private Sector Landlord but the Council has nowhere for them.

    Mrs Wilson merely wanted her house back and does not need to give a reason. There is no criticism of Amanda Willis whatsoever.
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